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Adverbs of Frequency

We use some adverbs to describe how frequently we do an activity.

These are called adverbs of frequency and include:
Frequency Adverb of Frequency Example Sentence


I always go to bed before 11pm.



I usually have cereal for breakfast.


normally / generally

I normally go to the gym.


often* / frequently

I often surf the internet.



I sometimes forget my wife's birthday.



I occasionally eat junk food.



I seldom read the newspaper.


hardly ever / rarely

I hardly ever drink alcohol.



I never swim in the sea.

* Some people pronounce the 'T' in often but many others do not.

The Position of the Adverb in a Sentence

An adverb of frequency goes before a main verb (except with To Be).
Subject + adverb + main verb
I always remember to do my homework.
He normally gets good marks in exams.

An adverb of frequency goes after the verb To Be.

Subject + to be + adverb
They are never pleased to see me.
She isn't usually bad tempered.

When we use an auxiliary verb (have, will, must, might, could, would, can, etc.), the
adverb is placed between the auxiliary and the main verb. This is also true for to be.
Subject + auxiliary + adverb + main verb

She can sometimes beat me in a race.

I would hardly ever be unkind to someone.
They might never see each other again.
They could occasionally be heard laughing.

We can also use the following adverbs at the start of a sentence:

Usually, normally, often, frequently, sometimes, occasionally
Occasionally, I like to eat Thai food.
BUT we cannot use the following at the beginning of a sentence:
Always, seldom, rarely, hardly, ever, never.

We use hardly ever and never with positive, not negative verbs:
She hardly ever comes to my parties.
They never say 'thank you'.

We use ever in questions and negative statements:

Have you ever been to New Zealand?
I haven't ever been to Switzerland. (The same as 'I have never been Switzerland').

We can also use the following expressions when we want to be more specific about
the frequency:
Every day - once a month - twice a year - four times a day - every other week.

Place the adverbs in the sentences correctly

1) He listens to the radio. (often) ___________________________________________________________.
2) They read a book. (sometimes) _________________________________________________________.
3) Pete gets angry. (never) _______________________________________________________________.
4) Tom is very friendly. (usually) ____________________________________________________________.
5) I take sugar in my coffee. (sometimes) __________________________________________________.
6) Ramon and Frank are hungry. (often) ___________________________________________________.
7) My grandmother goes for a walk at night. (always)_______________________________________.
8) Walter helps his father in the kitchen. (usually) ___________________________________________.
9) They watch TV in the afternoon. (never) _________________________________________________.
10) Christine smokes. (never) ______________________________________________________________.
11) Have you been to London? (ever) _____________________________________________________.
12) Peter doesn't get up before seven. (usually) ____________________________________________.
13) Our friends must write tests. (often) _____________________________________________________.
14) They go swimming in the lake. (sometimes) _____________________________________________.
15) The weather is bad in November. (always) _____________________________________________.
16) Peggy and Frank are late. (usually) ____________________________________________________.
17) I have met him before. (never) ________________________________________________________.
18) John watches TV. (seldom) ____________________________________________________________.
19) I was in contact with my sister. (often) __________________________________________________.
20) She will love him. (always) _____________________________________________________________.
21) They go to the movies. (often) _________________________________________________________.
22) She listens to classical music. (rarely) ___________________________________________________.
23) He reads the newspaper. (sometimes) _________________________________________________.
24) Sara smiles. (never) ___________________________________________________________________.
25) She complains about her husband. (always) ___________________________________________.

Adverbs of Frequency by Hilmar Vargas is licensed under a Creative Commons Reconocimiento-NoComercialSinObraDerivada 4.0 Internacional License.
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